Despite what former President Bill Clinton and most Democrats think, Fox News's Chris Wallace really is the epitome of fair and balanced.
In case you had any doubt, his interview Thursday with WOR radio's Steve Malzberg was a perfect example of why Wallace is the most impartial of all the Sunday talk show hosts.
To give you an idea of just how unbiased he is, during this extraordinary segment, Wallace strongly disagreed with Rush Limbaugh's recent remarks concerning Hillary Clinton's aging appearance, and actually came to her defense.
Later, Wallace supported media's questions concerning Mitt Romney being a Mormon even though Sen. Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) belief in this faith is totally ignored.
On the flipside, Wallace ridiculed MSNBC's David Shuster for some of his recent comments about Fox News, and mocked those that find water-boarding so deplorable.
Here are some of the highlights of this absolutely spectacular interview (15-minute audio available here, readers are cautioned to prepare themselves for an almost astounding level of candor from someone regularly depicted as a GOP mouthpiece):
- [After Malzberg brought up the Hillary's age/appearance issue] I have to say, I think this is idiotic. I mean, I really do. With due respect to you and to Rush, I think the idea of we're not going to like Hillary because we're not going to want to see a woman age I think is the personification of sexism...I just think that the idea because a woman, and that a woman should be judged differently because women age differently than men do, I think is just dumb...I think she had it exactly right when she said, "They're not attacking me because I'm a woman; they're attacking me because I'm winning."
- [After Malzberg mentioned that even though the press seems focused on Mitt Romney being a Mormon, they never question Harry Reid being similarly affiliated] In fairness, the reason it doesn't happen is because he's not running for president in Iowa. He's running in a state which doesn't seem to care very much about it, probably has a fair number of Mormons because it's neighboring Utah...I don't think that's why they're asking Romney those questions. I think they're asking those questions because he's running for an office in which people are concerned about that issue.
- [After Malzberg brought up Bush's Thursday press conference and FISA] Part of the problem is that we view actions in 2002 by the hindsight and the safety of 2007. We haven't been attacked in six years. And so, quite frankly, we have grown complacent, which is not a good thing, but is a somewhat human or understandable thing. And, you know, the fact is that nobody was complaining when they were catching these terrorists like Zubaida or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 2002. We were thrilled that they caught them and we wanted everything to be done to these guys to get any information we could get because we thought they had information that could conceivably jeopardize the lives of Americans and lead to further attacks on the American people and the American homeland. And now because we're safe and we've gotten a little fat and happy and lazy, we think to ourselves, "Well, you know what, we don't have to worry about it." We do have to worry about it, and it does bother me to see us criticized.
- You know, it's interesting, on Fox News yesterday, we had tape that was captured of an al Qaeda torture house. In this al Qaeda torture house, they had a steel bed frame - you know, once you take the mattress and the, whatever, off. The steel, the metal frame, which had been hooked up to electrical cords so that if you stuck somebody on it, they'd be electrocuted, they would be fried. You had knives, you had guns, you had masks, you had things to strangle people. There were mass graves outside. My guess is if they'd had the equipment, you know, for water-boarding, a bucket, and, you know, people would have said, "That was the good punishment." The idea that, I mean, forgive me, I'm sure there's some people who really believe, and John McCain believes, that it's torture. And, you can argue whether it's a good or a bad thing, but for us to get our, you know, our knickers in a knot because of the fact that people were water-boarded in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 strikes me as a foolish hindsight.
- [After Malzberg brought up MSNBC's David Shuster talking about the grilling GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is getting from Fox News] Well, you know, I look at our ratings, and I look at David Shuster and MSNBC, and somehow I think America gets it since we have about ten times their ratings, literally. I mean, in some parts of the day, tens times as many people are watching Fox News as watching MSNBC.
- Look, if we were so in the tank for Republicans, we wouldn't we just be boosting Huckabee? The fact is that he's the frontrunner, we haven't examined him very much, and, you know, we play it pretty darned straight. We're going after Huckabee, we go after Romney. You know, it now turns out that he said that he saw his father march with Martin Luther King. Well, maybe he didn't actually see him, because maybe George Romney, governor of Michigan, didn't march with Martin Luther King, although he marched in civil rights marches. You know, that'll be on our air today. I mean, we cover this story straight. People said we were in the tank to Rudy, you know, last week we were all over the Rudy drop in the polls. And I'll tell you what, if, Senator Clinton interestingly enough has been on "Fox News Sunday," has been on "Fox and Friends." If Senator Obama and Senator Edwards would have the moral fortitude to appear on our show, we'd give them a fair shake as well. I mean, we cover it, and we call it the way we see it.
Yes, they do. And anyone that would actually take the time to objectively watch "Fox News Sunday" would have to conclude that Chris Wallace is a rarity in this day and age when journalists are clearly on one side of the political aisle or the other.
Bravo, Chris, and kudos to Steve for providing the forum for such a frank and impartial discussion.
*****Update: I've read many of the comments here, and wanted to address some issues that may have either been misinterpreted or overlooked.
The purpose of this post was not to discredit what Rush said concerning Hillary's aging appearance or give validity to Wallace's view. Instead, the point was to illustrate just how impartial and unbiased Wallace is despite the carping and whining of Democrats and liberals in the media. But, impartial doesn't mean correct. It just means that the individual in question is willing to call them the way he sees them without allowing politics or a hidden agenda to dictate his public opinions when acting in the capacity of a journalist.
This is a rare quality in the media, and should be applauded. However, that doesn't mean Wallace is always right. Impartiality doesn't make one prescient or omniscient. It just makes you more honest and trustworthy than most in your profession.
This is important, for even though Wallace disagreed with Rush on this matter, I imagine Limbaugh still has extraordinary respect for Chris, and that this hasn't changed his opinion one iota.
Something else to consider is that conservatives shouldn't act like liberals when it comes to recognizing media bias and pointing out impartiality. For example, the people at Media Matters and Think Progress believe that folks like Tim Russert and Chris Matthews are conservatively-biased because they sometimes express non-liberal views. To them, any statement not in lock-step with "progressives" is proof that individual is actually conservative.
Of course, this is absurd. As such, when someone like Wallace makes statements that don't fit in perfectly with conservative ideologies, this doesn't mean he's liberal or stupid. Instead, it means that he is willing to think for himself beyond what might be in the best interest of the political party he supports and the policies he either advocates or wishes for.
That's what journalists should do. Unfortunately, there are so few in the press that behave this way today, folks have forgotten what they look like.